Discover the Largest Halibut Ever Caught in Maine

Halibut on a fishing line
© Israel Patterson/

Written by Stephanie Heath

Published: November 13, 2023

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Halibuts are a type of flatfish or flounder. There are three species of Halibut. Atlantic halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus), Pacific halibut (Hippoglossus stenolepis), and Greenland halibut (Reinhardtius hippoglossosides). The three species vary in color. While these species vary in color, they are all large fish. The Atlantic halibut is the largest and heaviest flatfish, capable of reaching up to 705 pounds. These fish inhabit the Arctic, North Pacific, and North Atlantic Oceans. Halibut is a popular choice of fish for cuisine, making them a frequently caught fish. However, are the fish that end up on the line as big as the giants swimming in the ocean? Fishermen catch some truly enormous halibut, but are they as big as 705 pounds? This article will focus on one U.S. state where halibut is popular, Maine, and we will discover the largest halibut ever caught there.

Atlantic halibut

The Atlantic halibut is a flatfish.


Halibut in Maine 

Portland, Maine, USA at Portland Head Light.

Maine is home to the Atlantic halibut, the largest and heaviest flatfish in the world.

©Sean Pavone/

The Atlantic halibut is the species that inhabits Maine’s waters. Although its populations are below target levels, authorities still allow fishing at reduced levels. The Atlantic halibut ranks among the largest fish found in Maine. These fish usually reach maturity around ten years old and can reach weights of up to 700 pounds. On average, these fish can live up to 50 years. Atlantic halibut are demersal fish, also known as groundfish, that live and eat near the bottom of the sea. They live on or near the ocean’s sand, gravel, and clay bottoms at up to 6,500 feet. To ensure that they are no longer overfished, the Atlantic Halibut is managed by NOAA Fisheries and the New England Fishery Management Council under the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan. 

The Largest Halibut Caught in Maine

While massive halibut of about 700 pounds swim around in the ocean, very rarely are fish of that size caught by fishermen. The average size of halibut caught by fishermen ranges between 20 and 50 pounds. So, when a fisherman catches one that is 100 or even 200 pounds, it is quite a feat. One of the bigger halibuts caught in Maine was by Richard Hincman, which weighed 215 pounds. However, there was still one that was even bigger. The largest halibut caught in Maine was an Atlantic halibut, a 257-pound, 7.3-foot-long giant. Josh Lawson caught this fish 20 minutes outside of Bass Harbor. 

The Largest Halibut Caught in the World

Halibut caught by a fishing line

There are three species of halibut: Atlantic halibut, Pacific halibut, and Greenland halibut.

©Jon C. Beverly/

While the largest halibut caught in Maine was big, there are some halibut that are even bigger. According to NOAA, “the largest Atlantic halibut recorded was taken off Cape Ann, Massachusetts, and weighed 615 pounds.” That weight was taken after the fish had been disemboweled. This means that the fish probably weighed 700 when it was alive. Although this halibut is huge, it holds the unofficial record for the largest halibut ever caught. Jack Tragis caught the official largest halibut off Dutch Harbor, Alaska. This International Game and Fish Association recorded this catch, which became the world record for this species. 

Can You Eat Halibut? 

Not only do many people eat and enjoy the flavor of halibut, but there are a plethora of health benefits that come with consuming this fish. Halibut is packed with protein and is full of omega-3 fatty acids. It is also high in selenium and has anti-inflammatory properties. Additionally, halibut is rich in potassium, which helps improve memory function. Halibut is enjoyed worldwide, and there are a variety of different ways that people cook and consume it. This white, flaky fish is often grilled, pan-fried, or baked. It is also a common fish for sushi and fish and chip dishes. 

Other Large Fish in Maine 

The average size of the largest

bluefin tuna

is between 500 and 550 pounds.


Halibut are not the only large fish swimming in Maine’s waters. Other large fish found in Maine are the Atlantic cod, striped bass, and goosefish. However, none of these fish, not even the largest halibut caught in Maine, come close to the largest fish found in Maine. The bluefin tuna is a massive fish that has an average weight of between 500 and 550 pounds. The largest one ever caught in Maine was caught by Jerry Jemison in 1977. This tuna weighed in at 1,155 pounds. 

Atlantic Halibut
The largest halibut caught in Maine was an Atlantic halibut that weighed over 200 pounds.

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About the Author

Stephanie is a writer at A-Z Animals that primarily covers a variety of animals and unique destinations. Stephanie is a published author and has been writing for many years. With a Bachelor's Degree in English and Elementary Education, Stephanie is familiar with writing for a variety of ages and audience types. As a Virginia resident, Stephanie enjoys reading, writing, traveling, and snuggling up with her beagle named Pooch!

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